Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First
I’ve got three personas now; a mother, a wife and me.
They’re competing a lot of the time. And in limited time. It’s a constant balancing act to let all three of me out, and decide who is most important. But I’ve come up with a ranking.
Number One – Me, Myself and I
You know how on airplanes they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you? The same applies in life.
You can only love others as much as you love yourself, so if you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after others.
For me this shows up in a few ways;
I need to get enough sleep. Without the sleep, I can’t function and I feel like all the love I have dries right up until I catch up on the sleep. So at night when the little dude wakes, I’m in and out as quickly as possible. He already knows that the middle of the night is not a time to try to play. I embrace the early nights now, and at least once a week I’m in bed in the 7’s, which means I can be out in the 12’s on other nights. But without the 7’s, there are no 12’s. And there are more tears.
I need to eat right. You know how when you’re tired, you eat crap, and that makes you more tired so you end up in a viscious cycle where you don’t love your body and you have no energy. Yeah me too, and that doesn’t serve me well. So I need to spend time and energy planning meals and cooking well.
I need to LIVE! You know those mums who love the idea of giving everything up to be the apple of their kidlet’s eye? That’s not me. Not by a long way. The honest truth of it is that although I love my bambino and I have beautiful moments of connection with him every day, there are also boring, tiring, frustrating times every day, and the cleaning is relentless and completely mind-numbingly dull. It reeeeeeeally winds me up when people say ‘it’s so worth it’. It’s not for me, I need more stimulation that I get from him these days. So I get out every day and see friends, exercise, horse ride, explore.
Meditation. If I’m honest this is a sometimes activity, but I try and it helps when I do it.
Energy work. This is a biggie at the moment, and getting a lot of focus while I try to reconcile with my new life. Sam v2.0 is emerging but it’s taking some work!
Number Two – Happy Wife, Happy Life
The second ranking is as a wife. Without the relationship that started this family there’s surely no point to it all. I think a happy, loving, safe adult relationship model is a wonderful thing to give to your kids. More than that, though, I always said it was more important to me WHO I had kids with than whether I had kids at all. So that relationship has to be maintained.
We walk out for dinner once a week or so, and take the little dude with us while he’s small enough to sleep in the pram. We go out without the little guy together once every week or two, using a babysitter or ever-generous granny. And we have family time on the weekends where we get out of the house and explore together.
You know what they say – the family that plays together, stays together.
Number Three – Mother Goose
I love my little guy, but I can’t put him above all the other needs in my life or I’ll resent him, and that’s no good for anyone.
I do love the special moments of connection we have every day, and making him laugh (I spend a lot of time chasing the laugh!!). But anyone who doesn’t admit that being at home is also hard, and irritating, and lonely, and full of other mundane tasks that I never liked before (seriously, how many loads of washing can one family of three need!?) is either a liar, or a very different honest human to me.
So there we have it.
I have to be the most important person in my life, as when I don’t love myself, I don’t treat those I love, with love.
My relationship is what started this whole big adventure of having a family, so if the two founding members aren’t all loved up and happy together, then there is no glue.
I love the little guy, and putting him third isn’t proof that I don’t. It’s proof that I love him enough to look after his mum.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and if you know anyone who might be struggling with the triad of titles, please share this with them.
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